Anthony Crolla world title return 'will be emotional', says trainer

By Ben DirsBBC Sport
Anthony Crolla facing return to ring for title fight
Saturday night boxing
Venue: Manchester Arena Date: Saturday, 18 July
Coverage: Quigg v Martinez, 21:00 BST, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Crolla v Perez, 22:15 BST, BBC Radio 5 live.

Anthony Crolla's trainer admits it will be difficult to contain his charge's emotions when he fights WBA lightweight champion Darleys Perez on Saturday.

Last December, Crolla suffered a fractured skull and broken ankle when attempting to apprehend burglars.

Mancunian Crolla, 28, was scheduled to challenge then WBA title-holder Richar Abril in January but will finally get his shot at the Manchester Arena.

"The ring walk on the night will be emotional," said Joe Gallagher.

"Sometimes I think we should have had a six-round warm-up to deal with those psychological issues.

"But having had that initial chance taken away from us, we had no choice. We're just going to have to deal with it on the night.

"But I don't think he'll be overwhelmed by it, it's hard to find a boxer who is more dedicated and more disciplined.

"And he's even more dedicated and disciplined since he came back from his injury, which might make the difference between maybe losing to Abril in January and beating Perez on Saturday."

Darleys Perez: A boxing champion against the odds

Colombian Perez, 31, is a former Olympian and has 32 wins from 33 professional fights. He was made WBA champion in April after Abril twice pulled out of a fight against Crolla's countryman Derry Mathews.

Perez's only defeat was by Cuba's Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2013 and he is a strong favourite to beat Crolla, who has fought largely at domestic level and has four losses and two draws from 35 paid fights.

"Anthony is up against it, but if he can get the crowd behind him and get through the first five or six rounds it will be interesting down the stretch," said Gallagher.

"Anthony has always gone into his biggest fights as an underdog and won most of them. If he beats Perez, it will be one of the biggest feel-good stories of 2015, in any sport."